When it comes to celebrating the spookiest holiday of the year with your family, especially while on vacation, it can often be difficult to find family-friendly events; fortunately, the San Antonio region is full of celebrations and activities that are sure to put your kids in the Halloween spirit.
From haunted houses too scary for younger children to a kid-friendly parade of floating coffins along the Riverwalk, there are Halloween attractions aplenty in San Antonio all October long. Whether you're just in town for a family vacation or live in the area and want a special treat for this holiday season, check out these great events happening in 2018.
If you're traveling with kids over the age of 12 and looking for a truly frightening stop for your Halloween adventure in San Antonio, there's no better place than the 13th Floor Haunted House—the oldest and longest-running Halloween attraction in the city.
Capitalizing on the superstitions surrounding the number 13, this haunted house is one of San Antonio's biggest scary attractions each year, packed with Hollywood-style special effects and spooky twists and turns. Located just a few blocks from the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk in a building that's over 100 years old, this haunted attraction opens in late September each year.
Special sections of the 13th Floor include the Dead-End District, a condemned town that's been infected by the PL4-GU3 Virus whose cure is hidden somewhere among the decayed houses, and The Cellar, modeled after the basement of the villain of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," Jackson Sawyer. The 13th Floor will also add two new themes for the 2018 season: "Cursed: The Ritual" and "Biohazard."
One day a year, the San Antonio Riverwalk celebrates all things spooky with a free festival. This year's event, "The Haunted River," will feature live music, dancing, costume contests, and the haunted river parade floating "corpses" in the San Antonio River.
This free festival will take place on October 26, 2018, from 6 to 10:30 p.m. and features two separate parties: one for adults at the Arneson River Theatre in La Villita and one for the whole family at the Shops at Rivercenter. The adult party will feature a group dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," holiday-inspired performances, and the costume contest, and the family party will feature a live DJ, family and kid's costume contests, and trick-or-treating along the Riverwalk. The river parade, which runs from 8 to 9 p.m., will be visible from both events.
From September 28 to October 28, 2018, SeaWorld San Antonio will transform into a land of nightmares with five special scare zones, four haunted houses, and several Halloween bars. During this month, you can also enjoy a series of spooky-themed performances including the Shamu's Rockin' Creepshow, staring the park's famous killer whale.
While you can still enjoy all of SeaWorld's various attractions during the daytime this month—including kid-friendly games, activities, and performances—the park turns up the level of fright around sunset each night, which may be too scary for younger children.
Much like SeaWorld, Six Flags Fiesta Texas transforms every Halloween into a theme park straight out of your worst nightmares, but unlike the waterpark, Fight Fest is just as scary in the daytime as it is in the evening.
The park will be crawling with ghouls and zombies on certain nights from September 14 through 28, 2018, but there will also be special attractions like haunted mazes, pulse-pounding rides, and holiday-themed live entertainment throughout the month. Certain attractions are only recommended for children 13 and over.
A staple for children and families in the area each year, the Zoo Boo at the San Antonio Zoo happens every weekend (Saturday and Sunday day) from September 22 through October 28.
This family-friendly, non-scary series of events features pumpkin painting, dance parties, a hay maze, and trick-or-treat stations throughout the zoo as well as a few costume contests on certain days.
Admission to the San Antonio Zoo automatically grants you and your family access to these holiday-themed games and activities, but you'll have to pay a little extra to take a ride on the Zoo Boo Express train.
You can get three adventures in one if you head to Ripley's Haunted Adventure in San Antonio since the building is also the home of the Guinness World Records Museum and the Tomb Rider 3D adventure simulation, all of which are open year-round.
This interactive haunted house is experienced via a coffin cage ride and haunted walking maze where guests experience scary sets, special effects, and live monsters. Compared to the 13th Floor, Ripley's Haunted Adventure is more of what you'd expect from a traditional haunted house—surprises that are hidden around corners and costumed actors that jump out to startle you—which makes it appropriate for children 9 and over
These ghost tours take you to some of San Antonio's historic haunted locations. From the first Spanish settlements in 1691 to the famous last stand of the Alamo, you'll learn about the haunted history of one of Texas' first settlements on one of four special tours including the Ghost Bus Tour, the Haunted History Walk, the Dinner Tour, the Ghosts From the Grave Cemetary Tour, and the Mystery & History of the Menger Hotel Tour, which takes guests through the "Most Haunted Hotel in Texas."
You can book individual or group tickets online or head to the Tour Office, located outside the Menger Hotel across from the Rivercenter Mall. Tours are available on select dates throughout the year, including all month long in October.